Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is pushing harder for actual negotiations to take place to end the Syrian civil war, but continues to insist that his country will not support any actual intervention. Lavrov held a press conference on Friday with his Egyptian counterpart, Kamel Amro, and both men say they have urged the Syrian government to meet with representatives of the Syrian National Council, that group that has been formally recognized by the international community (including the United States) as legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. Lavrov also stated the the head of the council has been invited to Moscow for talks, but has not responded.
Over the last several weeks, the Russians have made several attempts to distance themselves from the Assad regime and send signals that the Syrian leader should step aside. However, since they continue to explicitly reject the use of force by outside armies, their words hold little weight. Bashar al-Assad has shown little interest in a diplomatic solution and Russia—Syria's last major source of support—has shown little willingness to force them into one. They haven't even been willing to withhold financial and military support, which could cripple the regime's effort to fight back. More than 45,000 Syrians have been killed in the nearly two-year-old war.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.